Youth Football Referee Steve Wells Gives An Inside Look At Officiating

Youth Football Online Referee

We’re happy to feature youth football referee Steve Wells as a guest contributor.  He’ll answer questions you may have regarding youth football officiating and give you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a ref. Here’s Steve first post-

I am 23 years old. I just worked my first Varsity football game. As luck would have it, it
was a rivalry game. The football gods can be cruel to young officials.

The call was an Unsportsmanlike. A cornerback and wide receiver were trash-talking and
one decided to use a word that should get you flagged. In NC today, using this particular
term will get you ejected. However, with a 14-0 score and the losing side lining up for 3rd
and long this might have not have been the time to flag that.
The result was the losing team getting a first down and driving down the field to make
the game 14-6. That was the final score.

There was no judgment in the Crew Chief’s voice. He was just making a point – a point that I would remember for the rest of my life.

Depending on who you talk to today, you will get varying opinions of whether I was right
or wrong. Technically, I was right. I could have held my flag and penalized it during the
down. I could have spoken to the player. Any of these actions would have been correct.

Personally, I don’t know that I would have done anything differently. I think there is a
difference between words and actions. Guys say a lot of stuff, especially teenagers whose
brains aren’t fully formed that if they really thought about it, they wouldn’t.

In many ways a young official, the guys working your youth football games, are learning
the game the same as your players. Judgment isn’t something that comes overnight.

Flash forward to a 4th and inches QB Sneak a year later. The QB dives over the line. The
Wingmen rush into their spots. The QB looks at the spot and says “What the F…” Then
sees me and says: “Sorry Ref, I didn’t mean that.”

I grabbed the ball, spotted it. Looked the player in the eye and said: “Said What?”
paused “But don’t say it again. Okay?” He smiled, nodded and went back to his huddle.

I would like to this opportunity to share some of what it is like from inside the lines. Feel free to ask questions via the youth football online Facebook page or on twitter @Youth_Football.

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